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Old Rag Mountain Loop [CLOSED]

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Shenandoah National Park

Old Rag Mountain Loop [CLOSED] is a 10 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Syria, Virginia that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, camping, and backpacking and is best used from April until October.

Distance: 10.0 miles Elevation Gain: 2,480 feet Route Type: Loop

backpacking

camping

hiking

running

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

closed

no dogs

Note: This trail is currently closed due to COVID-19. This hike is one of the most popular hikes in Shenandoah National Park. It is a challenging hike, but when you make it about 3/4 of the way up, you will then have some rock scrambling that makes your pace a little slower. There are alot of switchbacks, so you will not be going straight up, but the trails are still at a steep grade. The descent, which is a longer distance than the ascent, is a much more gradual grade, ending on a fire trail. This hike begins with a one-mile walk up the road to the original Old Rag parking area (port-a-pots here.) Turn left onto the Ridge Trail and begin your approximate two mile ascent with switchbacks before reaching the boulder scramble section. There are handwritten numbers below the blue trail blazes throughout the trail. You’ll be going up, down, in between, around, and underneath granite boulders throughout the scramble. While going through the boulder scramble, keep your eyes open for the blue blazes, as sometimes they are in the strangest places. If you have a fear of heights, or jumping across crevasses, this will challenge you and encourage you to overcome your fears. When hiking Old Rag Mountain, each time you think you’ve reached the summit – you haven’t! This mountain has several false summits. You’ll know that you’ve reached the Old Rag Summit when you see the Old Rag Mountain brown elevation sign. Find a lovely rock with a fabulous 360 degree view for your lunch spot here, before starting your descent on the back of the mountain by way of the Saddle Trail. Rock hopping down, you’ll pass two shelters. First the Byrds Nest Shelter, then the Old Rag Shelter (privy here) before hitting a cross-roads. Stay to your right to continue back on the Weakley Hollow Fire Road for about four miles to return to the parking lot. This section can seem like it’ll last forever. You will pass through beautiful forests and see Brokenback Run that leads into the Hughes River.

hiking
1 day ago

Wish I had known had difficult the hike was before letting my friends talk me into it. At the end of the day it was quite an accomplishment. The view was stunning from up top. Requires a little bit of bouldering climbing as you get higher. Perfect place to spend the day hiking if you want a beautiful scenic view. I would definitely do it again in the future.

hiking
8 days ago

Tough hike, but well-worth it. After you scramble over the rocks and pause for the views on the way up, the summit will still take your breath away. You won’t want to leave! This is the busiest trail I’ve hiked, though, so if you arrive after early-morning, don’t be surprised if you have to wait for parking.

hiking
8 days ago

Sam, did you find out if the trail is open? I'm planning Mem'l Day weekend and would like to try the hike. Thanks!

hiking
12 days ago

Is this trail currently open for hiking? The national park website says it is closed and a couple of friends and myself would love to hike this trail tomorrow.

13 days ago

What an awesome trail! Yes this is a difficult hike but well worth it in the end. My friend and I are not the fittest people but we made it and I have to say I would do it again. Great hike if you are looking to spend your whole day walking and taking pictures.

hiking
scramble
13 days ago

Be aware that this hike is hard for the most FIT people. I didn’t take too many breaks but I highly recommend doing so to prevent being sore for the next few days. The 1st part is steep switchbacks, followed by a pretty challenging scramble to the top. The 360 views at the top are some of the best in Shenandoah. The descent is mainly fire roads, so after you summit the work is essentially done. This took a little over 4 hours with minimal breaks ascending and a lunch break at the top. This was the first hike I had ever been on, and it literally changed my life. HIGHLY recommend to someone looking for a rewarding challenge.

hiking
19 days ago

I love this hike and have done it multiple times. Was thinking of doing it again this weekend. Does anyone know if there is still access to the trail?

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

First trail I ever did in SNP. One of the funnest day hikes I've done Loved every minute of the rock scramble. Beautiful 360 degree views at the top. 10/10 would recommend. I'm in great shape and very athletic (not just saying that to stroke my ego. 27 years old, former D1 athlete, several years of hiking experience, just to give you some perspective) and some parts of the scramble were a little awkward and challenging to maneuver. Wouldn't recommend the rock scramble for anyone who is weak, out of shape, bad knees, bad balance, etc.. you could seriously hurt yourself. Be smart out there.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Had a lot of fun with this trail! About 1/4 flat uphill, 1/4 uphill rock scramble, and 1/2 fire trail. I recommend starting early (I started at 7 and took about five hours) and going with a friend (I hiked this trail on March 2nd)

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Awesome trail. Definitely strenuous but just pace yourself and you’ll be fine. The rock scramble is so much fun. Definitely recommend shoes with good traction. Lots of traction and some momentum was needed for me to get through the scramble. If the weather is nice you can most likely expect a line of people throughout the scramble. It’s a heavily trafficked trail. But while you wait It’ll give you time to watch the technique of those in front of you + catch your breath. Lots of false summits so if you think you’re at the top you probably aren’t lol.

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely loved and recommend this hike. The trail was beautiful and the perfect length for a day hike. The peaks were beautiful and made the hike worth it. I did this hike in about 4 and a half hours with a stop at the top for lunch. The rock scramble was tough at times but really fun. I would highly recommend this trail to others!

hiking
1 month ago

Writing this review a month later, but hiked this trail on March 1st. The hike itself was tedious, but the view was well worth it! It wasn’t to crowded which was nice. Literally only ran into a couple people, so I recommend going on a Sunday if you want to beat the crowd. Saw some ice on the trail, but other than that, it was a beautiful day!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful view from the Top

hiking
closed
2 months ago

After visitors were warned to pick other trails as Old Rag and White Oak were crushed by overcrowding on 3/22/2020, the following statement was issued: As of 3/23/2020 Per Shenandoah National Park’s social media accounts: Old Rag Mountain and Whiteoak Canyon trails, the boundary access roads, Nethers Road and Weakley Hollow Road, are currently closed by the Madison County Sheriff's Office. Only local residents will be able to access these roads. Please stay away from this area at this time. I would check their social media accounts in the coming days/ weeks to see if / when they reopen.

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

Great trail! We hiked up ridge trail to the old rag summit and then down saddle trail and the fire road. The rock scramble was amazing and more strenuous as expected, but a lot of fun. Proper hiking shoes are highly recommended as it is rocky and the extra traction and support on the rocks is a life saver. There are amazing spots throughout the hike up to the summit on ridge trail all around you overlooking the valley. I would definitely recommend getting to the trail earlier than later, as we got their at 9:30am and the parking lot was already packed on a chilly morning in March. There were a lot of people on the trail, but we just maintained distance between groups and it didn’t feel very crowded. There were a few moments when we had to wait a little bit to get through a section of the rocks due to the number of people there at one time. Overall, it was an amazing hike and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a nice, challenging hike with a great view at the top!

hiking
2 months ago

Old Rag is a rarity in this region-a rocky summit devoid of trees. Hence it’s popularity! It was packed-lots of people stir crazy from COVID. Boulder scramble is a challenge but really fun.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

hiking
fee
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

Go early super crowded on weekends

hiking
scramble
2 months ago

This hike is epic. My friends and I tackled it at 1am and there was no traffic, save 1-2 other groups who were also doing night hikes (bring night lamps and extra batteries if you do this). The scramble and switchbacks are tons of fun, and it's helpful to have someone up front scouting for footholds. Seeing the sunrise atop the mountain is incredible. We finished at 9am and walked past 527 groups goin' up into the onslaught of summer heat while we were comin' down. Best strategy. Highly recommend.

hiking
scramble
2 months ago

Tough hike but so much fun!! There’s a great deal of switchbacks that are the hardest part. The rock scramble at the top is epic! You have to climb up and through the rocks and make sure to follow the blue marks. Was a bit crowded for a weekday, but that’s probably because many people are off work at this time. The last two miles of the circuit hike are on the fire road through woods. Very pretty but I would’ve rather gone back down the fun rock scramble and switchbacks.

hiking
scramble
2 months ago

Very busy at 11:30 am (probably bc everyone was “social distancing”). The rock scramble section involved a lot of waiting for the people in front of me, and two groups were playing a portable speaker while they hiked. (Ugh.) Despite those things, the trail was super easy to follow, the incline was steep and challenging and fun, and the views were incredible. Definitely would recommend getting there earlier on busy days to avoid the crowds.

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

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